James and James never set out to reinvent the wheel. What happened was a little like the start of Dyson but without the 5,127 prototypes he had to develop to get it right.
Back in 2008, we were asked to look at how to improve the fulfilment of a specialist health food business. What we realised was that fulfilment companies were curiously old fashioned. We knew technology meant a fulfilment company could and should be done better, creating cost savings, processing orders more efficiently and faster and providing actionable data and information.
Understanding that starting point means you understand our drive and passion to leverage technology for competitive advantage, ours and yours.
We're a start up with no loans or debts - funded instead by the success of our ideas.
Since its incorporation in 2010, our fulfilment company has gone from strength to strength and continues to re-invest in it's technology to lead the industry with warehouses in Cambridge and Northampton as well as international centres in Ohio and New Zealand.
MEng MA cantab
Founder & Commercial Director
James has always been fanatical about process design. He studied at the Institute for Manufacturing at the University Cambridge. James now oversees the operation of our industry-leading fulfilment facilities and can regularly be seen zooming around the warehouse on his electric scooter, looking for things to improve.
MEng MA cantab
Founder & Technical Director
James Strachan is a manufacturing engineer by trade and a programmer at heart. He studied at the Institute for Manufacturing at the University Cambridge and has since helped companies design robust processes, using a heady combination of web software and common sense. James wrote the foundations to our ControlPort system. Now he leads its continued progress and the development team.
James Hyde and James Strachan both read Manufacturing Engineering and Management at the University of Cambridge. By the time they graduated in 2007, they were working for a Cambridge based entrepreneur, developing a radical approach to mass production gardening services.
Times moved on and in 2008 James Hyde began working for a small international health food business. He shortly brought in James Strachan as technical lead to begin developing the company's online capabilities. However, it became clear that their current order fulfilment house wasn't up to the mark when it came to eCommerce fulfilment.
In 2009, a project began to find the UK's best order fulfilment company, where they could confidently fulfil the health food business' products from. While there were certainly better companies out there, none offered what the two Jameses were looking for; online, real time order processing, coupled with live reporting and deep integration with the shopping cart and CRM systems. They were almost in disbelief - how could an industry this large be run off such outdated systems? Why had no one bothered to invest?
When you begin to understand the industry many of the answers become clear.
Restrictions on the commercial use of the internet were lifted in 1991, but it was not until 1994 that online payment technologies and SSL started to become available.
The online shopping experience we associate with today didn't begin to arrive until 2005 and this time product was already in warehouses - who were asked to fulfill web orders. They were the same warehouses running the same software that they were in the 1980s.
Things have improved, but almost all fulfilment centres were previously warehouses, and almost all run legacy systems, or have built on legacy technology.
And so, in late 2009, development began on 'DeepWell,' a database that would hold every last detail of the fulfilment process, from the batch code on every product, through to every operator who had touched it. This was the beginning of applying a new way of technological thinking.
Six Works Ltd, as it was known, was offically founded in early 2010 and took over the fulfilment of the health food company.
In the year that followed, another 10 clients were added to the books, and in the year that followed the fulfilment company business tripled in size again. And so the seeds of change had been sown...